Inventory management is an essential part of any online business. And we’d like to share our insight as well. This article will make a stronger focus on inventory management challenges for B2C e-commerce retailers, especially on sellers planning to grow their business.

Top 3 Inventory Management Challenges in E-commerce

Managing your products efficiently is a mastery. There are three significant challenges related to inventory management. Understanding is the first way to overcome them. 

Spreadsheet Management Scalability 

No doubt that good old spreadsheets from Google or Microsoft can get the job done. However, their scalability is an issue. If you have a small e-shop that sells several drone models, managing your inventory with spreadsheets is easy as pie. But if you have a great variety of goods and a busy shipping schedule, you’ll hardly find this method very convenient. 

The bigger your business is, the more time and effort you’ll have to dedicate to inventory management using spreadsheets. Endless rows and columns with data regarding all of your items, orders, and payments are hard to update in time. Such circumstances lead to various risks like delays or excessive administration costs.

Manual Product Listings and Updates

Usually, listing a product on Amazon or another platform takes several minutes. You have to input all the main information: pricing, quantity, images, etc. And, of course, double-check everything to ensure that nothing is missing. Also, you’ll spend some time making updates to your product if the need arises. You’ll have both to make changes and ensure they are reflected in your shop. And it takes time. An estimation shows that 30% of changes require a physical ticket to be filed to get them active.

Managing your inventory manually takes more time as your business scales. Besides, many businesses are listed on multiple e-commerce platforms at the same time.  

Cross-platform Inventory Management

Сhances are that you use Amazon, eBay, Lazada, and other marketplaces at the same time. If not, you may need it in the future. That’s why cross-platform management is something to pay attention to. Cross-platform management includes: 

  • Updating your product pages across multiple marketplaces and websites
  • Completing orders across multiple marketplaces
  • Observing many platforms to keep up with marketplaces algorithm changes

On a smaller scale, these elements are manageable with one person’s effort. Yet again, a growing shop will likely have too many items and orders. Managing all of them can become a real pain. 

Solutions to Inventory Management Challenges

The above-mentioned inventory management issues become more and more painful as your business grows. But don’t worry. There are two approaches to help your business scale up.  

Hire More Staff

The most straightforward way to address the product management challenges is to hire more people. Assign all of your pains to dedicated specialists or even teams. 

However, hiring enough personnel may not be the best option due to the high labor cost. There is no guarantee that your shop remains profitable after over-expanding the team. Apart from that, you’ll have to concern yourself with managing a team, which may be a challenge itself. 

Use Inventory Management Automation Tools

Instead of hiring a big team, try to use inventory management automation tools. Specialized cloud-based apps will help you to optimize your workflow and manage your stock efficiently. Such software tools connect your store with multiple sales channels automatically.

Here’s how using inventory management software will help you with running your shop:

  • Solve scalability issues better than spreadsheets
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Make listings faster and easier
  • Automatically control your inventory and orders across many platforms (Etsy, Amazon, Lazada, and many others)
  • Track your e-commerce activities to analyze them and make better decisions

Long story short, inventory management automation software helps your business scale up while keeping your expenses reasonable.